Saturday, February 24, 2024

Craigleith Heritage Depot Gets a Facelift 137 Years In The Making

Following a six-month renovation, the Craigleith Heritage Depot, a branch of The Blue Mountains Public Library (BMPL), and a historic rail station, re-opened on Friday, June 23.

The Craigleith Station was opened in 1886 as a stop along the Grand Trunk Rail Line and was instrumental in developing the ski industry in the region as the ‘Ski Train’ brought tourists every Sunday from Toronto to the slopes. After nearly a century and a half, the building was reverted back to the original two-toned Grand Trunk colour scheme and included major repairs. BMPL received $406,250 through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure’s (ICIO) Community Culture and Recreation (CCR) Funding Stream, a joint Canada/Ontario grant for the renovations of the heritage community museum.

BMPL was also successful in receiving an Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund grant, which was used to hybridize the main branch’s Gallery and Boardroom. The result of this funding has meant that programs can now be attended in person as well as broadcast, and importantly, presenters can attend in person or online, thus opening the pool of candidates for presentations. Community members are also using these hybrid spaces to host their own meetings, including community groups such as Toastmasters.

Dr. Sabrina Saunders, CEO of the Blue Mountains Public Library, stated, “Our motto is to Connect, Explore, and Create, and these two grants were imperative to meeting that end. The hybridization of our two meeting spaces through the support of the OTF has been a game changer for us. So many community members are still uncomfortable participating in a room full of people and we can now offer opportunities to watch and participate from home. We have even run a children’s program where the speaker was off site. This technology can open the world of presenters to our community. Our boardroom users are also utilizing our spaces and technologies. So many have commented on how good the museum looks. Many have said they were not aware the colours selected were original to the building as our community has no living memory of the Grand Trunk line, which stopped operations in the 1920s.”

Mayor Matrosovs, one of the speakers at the Grand Re-opening of the Museum noted, “This renovation brings the Craigleith Station back to an era in time.”

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